It's a blogger's prerogative to change their mind... Today we're talking the evolution of Summer Fridays and how they've elevated themselves far above the typical 'all pretty packaging, no impressive formulas' brand I had originally assumed they were going to be. It seems like they've really listened to customer feedback when it comes to their products, and that's great. Let's dive into Summer Fridays, their products and how they've developed over time!
The first product I ever tried from this brand was their Jet Lag Mask | £42 (full size) | in fact, it was their only product for a little while. Then there were a few more masks launched and whilst I quite liked their rose formula, it was still very much giving me 'pretty packaging, not much else' vibes. The Jet Lag mask was very lacklustre to me, I didn't really get the hype, however it was recently reformulated and I got a little sample of it when I purchased their new face oil. They've simplified the formula, taking out the fragrance and other ingredients that were apparently causing people irritation. I really do give them props for listening to customer feedback and using it to make a better product. I personally do like this new version - it's not something I'm going to rush out and buy a giant tube of because I have to have it in my life, but it's good and I feel like I'm getting what I was promised with the original formula.
It contains nourishing ingredients like shea butter and fatty alcohol, glycerin and hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin, soothing cucumber extract and then we have the holy trinity of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. The reason this combination is so great is because it mimics the makeup of your natural skin barrier, replenishing it so you can stay hydrated and calm. Bisabolol, allantoin and panthenol are all great for soothing and hydrating the skin and we also have niacinamide, a powerhouse ingredient. It can do a lot from reducing inflammation to preventing hyperpigmentation to regulating oil production in the skin, though in the context of this formula, I'd imagine it's more here as a skin barrier booster, as it can stimulate ceramide production in the skin. Overall, I really enjoy this and use it in place of a night cream when I want calm, soft, smooth and moisturised skin and it works a treat. It's not rich or heavy, so (if you're not sensitive to shea butter) this will suit most skin types. Overall, this is an A+ upgrade and I think it better captures what the original product was meant to do; nourish and soothe irritated, tired, dehydrated skin.
The first more 'serious' product I feel like Summer Fridays released was their CC Me Vitamin C Serum | £57 | and I didn't buy it for ages because I guess I judged a book by its cover and thought it was a bit expensive from a 'cutesy' brand with no track record in high-quality actives. However, the 5-star reviews just kept coming, so I picked it up. Fast-forward around about a year, and I'd actually say that this is the product I credit with me starting to use Vitamin C daily (which is now absolutely crucial to my morning skincare routine!) This is a fantastic starter Vitamin C and one I'd definitely repurchase if I wasn't constantly trying new formulas to review and compare. Ascorbic acid is the gold standard of Vitamin C, but it's notoriously unstable so unless it's Skinceuticals (who have patented that perfect efficacy + stability combination) or an indie brand making small, fresh batches: I often don't find it worth the aggro to buy it. Coupled with the fact it has to be formulated at a low pH (often extra-low by a lot of brands to avoid infringing on the Skinceuticals patent), it can actually be quite irritating for some people. This serum instead contains two derivatives: 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid and ascorbyl glucoside. Whilst they don't have the same evidence for their collagen-boosting effects, they can still provide some antioxidant benefits, plus can make your skin glow and even out its overall tone and appearance. They're also not as harsh on the skin and combining them like this can offer increased benefits.
Contrary to the myth (based on old, flawed research), Vitamin C and niacinamide can definitely be used together and make a fantastic pairing, so it's great to see them united in this formula to create a gentle but effective serum to combat uneven skin tone. We also have glycerin (a humectant) and squalane, which is a skin-similar plant derived oil, so despite the water-light texture this still does actually feel moisturising and hydrating as well as treating the skin. There are also green tea, coffee and black tea extracts in here too to boost the formula's antioxidant benefits, helping to fight free radical damage from pollution and your environment. Vitamin E helps to stabilise and boost the effectiveness of the Vitamin C derivatives in here too, as well as adding in more antioxidant goodness. There are some fragrant plant extracts in here too, though they are itemised so if you have a specific sensitivity, you'll know if it's in here or not. Overall, I find this an everyday-gentle serum that gave my skin hydration and glow but also improved its overall tone without any irritation. This is the product that really made me sit up and take notice of this brand.
Ok, it's not exactly an 'active' but I love, love, loooove the Lip Butter Balm | £19.50. I did love this when it first launched, but as I reached the end of the old tin tube, it started to leak and the product oozed out of the sides, with the packaging looking beat up. However, again, listening to customer feedback: Summer Fridays recently repackaged it to be more durable and I like how it allows you to dispense less product, so I now use it both AM and PM. This is possibly my holy grail lip balm with its nourishing, softening blend of Vitamin E, shea and murumuru butters and vegan waxes, to help form that occlusive seal on the lips that locks in hydration. It's dreamy. This one has a vanilla scent and there's also a tinted version I need to try.
Next, I tried the Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution | £49. This chemical exfoliant is branded as like a serum and toner in one (and is priced accordingly!); I personally use it as a toner, but make no mistakes: the pastel packaging doesn't mean this isn't a powerful active. This is actually more like a heavy-duty, once-a-week peel, so I use it in the toner stage and follow it up with hydrating, nourishing goodness (and no other actives). A rule of thumb I sometimes find helpful is; the smaller the bottle of exfoliator, the less frequently it's intended to be used, and as you can see, this is 100ml. It contains 16% AHA, which is a lot, though it's a blend of glycolic (stronger) and lactic (gentler and more hydrating) acids and it's not clear from the website, product or ingredient list what that split is. I'd say that if you're sensitive or very prone to hyperpigmentation caused by irritation: this isn't for you. If you're a well-weathered user of acids and you'd like to step it up: this is for you. Although the aloe and glycerin in here will soothe and hydrate, just be aware that there are some citric plant extracts in here if you're sensitive to those.
There's also niacinamide and a bit of ascorbyl glucoside in here for their brightening benefits, so I'd use this once a week in the evening and the Vitamin C every morning, if you were looking at how to make all of this into a routine. This is a non-drying formula and doesn't irritate my well-acid-seasoned skin, just gives a mild tingle. It seriously smooths out my skin, makes it feel baby-soft and also provides the immediate glow-boosting gratification. As I've said, this isn't for everyone, but it is for me!
Onto more recent purchases, I honestly picked up the mini of the Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel-Cream | £39 (full size) | for £14 because there was so much hype around it. I didn't need a new moisturiser but thought this would be handy for travel and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was a little concerned with this being an oil-free moisturiser, because (for me, at least) oils do serve a purpose in a moisturiser by locking in hydration and softening and smoothing the skin, whereas a lot of humectant-heavy gels can feel like they disappear from my skin. I like that this formula has a little bit of aerated weight to it, if that makes any sense?! It has a fluffy sort of density that melts onto the skin nicely and does give mine a nice glow. During the end of summer, this was a great option, though now the weather is cooling down, my dry skin needs more. I definitely see myself polishing this off and enjoying it a lot when spring comes back around.
In terms of ingredients, we have a couple of forms of hyaluronic acid for those water-attracting benefits, ascorbic acid (I doubt it's doing a lot in here given the notes I made above on this ingredient, but it's there!), we have a fatty alcohol in here to provide some nourishment alongside the hydration and there are actually some forms of Vitamin E in here, alongside ceramides, which are likely providing a lot of the substance I noted with this one. Then we have a probiotic to offer some potential skin barrier benefits, plus a peptide to plump and hydrate the skin. When it comes to oil-free moisturisers, this is about as well-balanced as it gets!
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Heavenly Sixteen All-in-One Face Oil | £50. Look, I love a face oil: I don't care what anyone says! They just provide me a bit of extra oomph as the last step in my evening routine. This formula is just dreamy, heavenly, if you will... It's non-greasy, doesn't leave me too shiny (so I might add it into my AM routine when I need it during the depths of winter) and doesn't contain any fragrant ingredients so should be safe for sensitive and compromised skin. It layers beautifully, never pilling up and sealing in hydration so I experience less of that overnight drying effect with my skin.
The oils used are rich in replenishing omega fatty acids; we have squalane, rosehip (which could have healing properties), cucumber (which is calming), oat (for its soothing benefits), sunflower, meadowfoam, blackberry, cranberry and more (16 in total, as you might expect!) It's soothing, it's calming, it's nourishing and isn't going to overwhelm most skin types. I can't stop reaching for it at the moment. If you're an oil person, you should really enjoy this.
And there you have it: a journey in reviews that has led from Summer Fridays being a cute but slightly 'meh' brand for me, to me awaiting each new launch eagerly and usually getting my hands on it! I always appreciate a brand that takes on board customer feedback, is agile with their packaging and formulations and who genuinely want to be better. Summer Fridays have won me over; don't be fooled by the pastel, because there are some powerful actives and well-thought-out formulas in this line.
Have you tried anything from Summer Fridays?